Polar Boy: Teacher Resource Kit This resource kit provides teaching aids for use with Polar Boy, a novel for children 8 – 14 years. The resource kit consists of: Teacher Notes – Walker Books Australia (download from www.walkerbooks.com.au) Comprehensive Resource Material (also incorporating Teacher Notes material) In Brief – Overview The Author Praise for Polar Boy Writing Polar Boy Geographical Setting Historical Setting Cultural Setting Characters Chapter Summaries Themes and Discussion Points Curriculum Linked Activities Science • Research Methods • Inventions • Arctic/Antarctic Phenomena • Hypothermia English • Historical Fiction • Comprehending the Text • Writing • Poetry • Language • Talking and Listening • Creative and Practical Arts SOSE/HSIE/Geography Activities o Additional References
o o o o o o o o o o o
Interactive White Board Resource Material (download from http://www.sandyfussell.com/trk.htm)
IN BRIEF Blurb from the book cover: The ancient ones whisper to me, Iluak,” Nana says. “They talk about you. They say a bear is waiting.” In the land of snow and ice, where the midwinter sun doesn’t rise and it’s black all day, Iluak is afraid. But he’s not afraid of the darkness. No one here is. He’s afraid of whiter things. Summary Ananaksaq, village shaman and grandmother, foretells Iluak must one day face the great bear to save his people. Iluak is afraid. He must overcome many difficulties before he is ready to face the challenge, including resolving his differences with the village bully, Tuaq. Tuaq is destined to be the next shaman and Iluak must work with him. Iluak faces three bears as he finds courage and acceptance of his destiny. Ultimately, it is not a polar bear he must face but the Northmen, or Vikings, who are moving into the Icelands of the Inuit people. The Viking ‘berserkers’ or ‘bears’ are fierce warriors who do not want to share the land or its creatures. With help from Nana, his sister Miki, his friends Finn and now Tuaq, Iluak brings the Viking leader Bjalki to meet with Nana and a tentative peace is wrought as the two groups begin to learn how to live and share together.
PRAISE FOR POLAR BOY Sandy Fussell's description (told through Iluak's present tense, first person narrative) of this bleak, bitter, icy world is flawless and makes utterly compelling reading... Polar Boy is a gripping well-researched and thoroughly enjoyable adventure for upper primary readers, of particular appeal to boys. Russ Merrin - Magpies August 2008 Sandy Fussell has written a beautiful story of Iluak, a boy from the Too-lee, a polar tribe, and his challenges as he comes to terms with the fact that his grandmother (the tribal shaman) has predicted an encounter with a bear. His conflict between wanting to be brave and knowing how scared he feels is well written, as are the relationships with family and others in the tribe. Malcolm McEwen - StoryTime (NZ) 2008 The icescape is captured beautifully as the protagonist must face his biggest fear, the polar bear which will determine the future of life amongst the snow and ice where whiteness reigns over darkness... Chapter style, easy to read, the amount of foreshadowing and predictability ensure the novel will have great appeal for younger readers. Helen Martin - Reading Time October 2008
An important factor of the story is how it incorporates a strong sense of respect and connection to the natural world and the human ties to all living things. … the people give thanks to the spirit of the animal whose life they have taken to sustain their own, acknowledging its spirit, and taking only what they need to survive on, and nothing more... Anastasia Gonis – The Reading Stack October 2008
THE AUTHOR Sandy Fussell is a mum, an IT consultant and a children’s author. Much to her surprise, the three jobs work well together. She studied Mathematics and Information Technology at University but her first love has always been words – reading and writing. She read to her children when they were young and as they became independent readers, read the same books so they could talk about them. She discovered the truly wonderful world of children’s literature. Sandy is an enthusiastic schools presenter and finds the greatest reward in receiving feedback and emails from children who have read her books. Sandy is also the author of the Samurai Kids series. Visit the Samurai Kids website for information and teaching resources www.samuraikids.com.au.
WRITING POLAR BOY The Inspiration “I read an account of a discussion between the Danish polar explorer Knud Rasmussen and Aua, a shaman of the arctic Igulik people. Rasmussen asked why the Igulik followed certain customs and each time the shaman’s answer was ‘because we are always afraid’. He showed Rasmussen examples of how his peoples’ harsh, bleak life was ruled by continual fear – starvation, the ice, the beasts of the land and sea and the dead souls of men and animals. I felt a great sadness for their struggle but at the same time, enormous admiration for their spirit. I wanted to write about their fears and triumphs. I just knew there was a great story there, if I could find it. Because I love history, I went back 650 years. I discovered life was the same even then for the people of the High Arctic – except for one thing – the Vikings were coming. I had my story.” Note: The Rasmussen account can be read here www.humanistictexts.org/eskimo.htm.
The Language “One of the challenges in writing Polar Boy was finding the imagery in a place of whiteness, with no metal and wood, no colour and few animals or birds. But the polar landscape has a unique beauty. I found what I had to do was look at it a little less traditionally. Stop thinking in terms of colour, sun, sky and just look at what also was there in terms of other things. Nothing more complicated than that. The key to the descriptive writing in Polar Boy is simplicity. For example, to describe Nana, who is only small but very powerful, all I needed to do was use images of the whale, a powerful and spiritual creature to the Inuit people. They use every part of it – for food, clothing, shelter and even the polished ribs as tools. My grandmother’s body is shrunken and brittle but her spirit looms larger than the bowhead whale and shines brighter than its polished ribs.
THE GEOGRAPHICAL SETTING Polar Boy is set on Baffin Island, which is part of Canada. It is the fifth largest island in the world. Most of Baffin Island lies above the Arctic Circle. In summer, groups of Bowhead whales migrate to Baffin Island.
THE HISTORICAL SETTING Polar Boy is set in the 14th century. This is the time when the Thule Inuit people migrated east across the top of North America, from Alaska to Labrador, even reaching Baffin Island. At the same time, the Viking people moved south from Greenland eventually reaching Labrador. There is some evidence to show the Viking people were in contact with the Thule although the geographic extent is not fully known.
THE CULTURAL SETTING The Thule people (pronounced Too-Lee) are ancestors of today’s Inuit people. They lived a subsistence lifestyle and were dependent on the animals around them to provide the basic necessities of survival. For modern day Inuit people still living a traditional life style, many things have not changed as they are dictated by the stark and harsh environment.
CHARACTERS Main Iluak Finn Miki Ananaksaq Tuaq Bjalki Asmund Papa Other Mama Hulag Raynor
The narrator. A 13-year-old Inuit boy who must one day ‘face the bear’. Meaning: Person who does good things Iluak’s big, quiet friend who doesn’t use many words to save his people Iluak’s 12-year-old sister. Meaning: little Iluak’s grandmother, the village shaman, a prophet. Meaning: grandmother Meaning: Lump of old ice frozen into new ‘The Bar’ Viking leader Viking explorer Iluak’s father and the village chief
Aunty Uncle Massak Elga
Iluak’s mother A stranger who tries to join the village group Papa’s friend. Chief of another village who share summer camp with Iluak’s village Iluak’s aunty who lives with him. A throat singer Iluak’s uncle who lives with him Iluak’s baby cousin who lives with him. Meaning: soft snow Bjalki’s granddaughter who Iluak rescues from a bear
Create a matrix (like above) of the characters in Polar Boy.
Inuit names have special meanings. Why did the author choose Iluak and Tuaq? Find out the meaning of your name.
CHAPTER SUMMARIES Chapter 1 - Iluak the Not So Brave Iluak goes outside in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. He rushes inside when he sees a polar bear. The family wakes and Papa gets Iluak into trouble because it is not safe outside. Ananaksaq, referred to by Iluak as Nana, says it is not Iluak’s fault. A prophecy foretells he must eventually face the great bear. Chapter 2 - One Ringed Seal Nana announces Iluak needs a ceremonial igloo built. After the igloo is made, Iluak fights with Tuaq, a village boy who insults Miki. Iluak, Finn, Miki and Papa go seal hunting. Iluak falls into the ice.
Chapter 3 - The Raven Iluak is in the icy water and starts to feel the effects of hypothermia (growing too cold). Because he is close to death he sees the Raven, the Inuit death spirit. The Raven has come to collect his soul but Ananaksaq, as village shaman, intervenes and says it is not Iluak’s time to die. Chapter Four - The Colour of Ice Iluak awakes in the ceremonial igloo where Nana is holding a rebirthing ceremony to celebrate his escape from death. Iluak’s aunty and friend perform throat singing. Iluak intervenes in an argument between Miki and Tuaq. Nana tells Iluak the bears and the Northmen are coming. Iluak is afraid but Nana tells him not to worry, that he will be rewarded. The bears have something he wants. Chapter Five - Across the Ice Lines The village packs and starts it long, dangerous journey across the ice to their summer camp. Iluak’s sled almost falls into a crevasse. Iluak discovers Nana has chosen Tuaq to succeed her as shaman. Iluak is not happy as Tuaq is his ‘enemy’. Finn, Miki and Iluak go exploring and find a bear. Chapter Six – Little Bear The bear is a sick cub. The children return to camp and Iluak boasts he has now ‘faced the bear’. But with Nana’s help he realises he needs to help the bear. Together with Tuaq, who insists on coming even though he is not welcome, they return to use Nana’s medicine to help the cub. Iluak feels a little braver and knows he has done the right thing. Chapter Seven – The Caribou Resuming the journey, the village find caribou droppings. They set up an ambush to hunt the caribou. It is Finn and Iluak’s first hunt. When Nana gives the prized antler from Iluak’s caribou to Tuaq, he is angry. But Tuaq needs it to begin his role as shaman and Nana tells Iluak he must work together with Tuaq. They need to become friends. Chapter Eight – The Weasel A stranger approaches the camp with tales of his village being murdered by the Northmen. Nana and Papa do not trust Hulag or the knives he carries and he is not allowed to stay. Chapter Nine – Ice Coast Iluak is afraid of the Northmen who may be waiting at the coast. Nana tells Iluak the story of a Northman, a good man, who came as a stranger and stayed with the village until he was killed in a walrus hunt accident. Arriving at the coast, Iluak’s village is joined by other villages. Together, the villages go on a whale hunt.
Chapter Ten – Two Bowhead Whales During the whale hunt, Tuaq is knocked overboard by a wave. Iluak dives in to rescue him. When the Raven appears, Tuaq rescues Iluak. The two boys are now tied together by a strong bond and finally a friendship can begin to develop. Nana finds Grandfather’s necklace in the third whale stomach. While the families are dividing the whale, a Northman messenger arrives to say their chief Bjalki has claimed the whale as this is their land. Nana tells the messenger that no one owns the ice or its creatures but they are happy to share with Bjalki. Finn and Iluak realise the Northman stranger Thorvald was Finn’s father. Chapter Eleven – An Even Bigger Bear When a Northman child is alone on the ice with a bear, Iluak rescues her. Uncle and Raynor return the child to Bjalki’s camp. Ottar returns with a thank you and the concession he will discuss sharing the whale. Raynor and Uncle are being held prisoner. Someone must go to the Northman Camp. When Nana says ‘Someone must face the bear’ Iluak realises this is the bear of the prophecy. Chapter Twelve – The Bear Cave Iluak is afraid but, with Finn’s company, he goes to meet his destiny. Bjalki is offended to be sent children and throws them into the ‘locker’ (gaol) where they meet the Northman explorer Asmund. Asmund realises what Bjalki was too angry to see or know – Iluak is the boy who rescued Bjalki’s granddaughter so Bjalki owes Iluak a life debt or favour. And Finn is his nephew. Bjalki demands Finn stay with him but Finn refuses. Iluak claims his life debt – that Finn stays with him and Bjalki comes to meet with Nana. Chapter Thirteen – Nana’s Bear The village is not happy that Iluak has invited the Bear into their midst but Nana says it is the time of the prophecy and prepares a celebration. Nana and Bjalki face off in a show of strength. Bjalki’s people are big and physically strong but the Too-lee have the strength to survive life on the ice. By demonstrating this, Nana wins Bjalki’s respect. Chapter Fourteen – The Green Lands Nana joins the Northmen and the Too-lee people together. The peace is not perfect but it is the beginning of trust and working together. Finn and Iluak will go exploring with the Northmen. Bjalki’s son will stay with the Too-lee. The prophecy is fulfilled and the Bear has given Iluak what he wants – a chance to find out what life is like away from the ice.
THEMES AND DISCUSSION POINTS Determination Iluak is determined to do what is right even though he is scared. Why is he so determined? Does it help him?
Overcoming adversity Living on the ice is very hard. What are the dangers? How do the Inuit people overcome these? How important is the community, family and friendship? Survival The Inuit people live a subsistence and nomadic lifestyle. They move across the ice and only take what they need. Discuss the caribou hunt. How many caribou did they kill? Discuss the whale hunt. Why couldn’t they kill the whale if the calf was only a baby? The Inuit people use every part of the animals they kill – for food, clothing and shelter. What might they do with the parts of a seal, whale and caribou? Bravery & Courage Chapter 1 is called Iluak the Not So Brave. Why isn’t Iluak brave? Who does he think is brave? What is Iluak afraid of? How does he overcome his fears? What are you afraid of? What would help you overcome this fear? Identity & Difference Finn is different to the other children. How do they treat him? How does Iluak deal with Finn being different? What does Nana say? The Inuit and Northmen are very different. How are they different? What do the Northman call the Icelanders? How do they deal with their differences? Friendship Iluak has a close friendship with Finn. How does Finn help Iluak with his problems? Why doesn’t Iluak like Tuaq? Why do they eventually become friends? Bullying Tuaq is a bully but he changes his behaviour. Why does he change? Destiny A person’s destiny or fate is a series of events that they can’t control. What is Iluak’s destiny as a member of the Too-lee tribe who follow the same patterns every year? What is Iluak’s destiny according to Nana’s prophecy? What does Iluak really want? How does his destiny help him achieve this? Do you have any events in your life that are part of your destiny eg going to high school, family Christmas traditions?
CURRICULUM LINKED ACTIVITIES SCIENCE Research Methods Internet – Print out and discuss some Thule artefacts. First hand – visit zoo, visit snowfields. Inventions The Inuit people invented the toggling spear, the trampoline, snow goggles and the dog sled. Draw a picture of something you would like to invent. Polar Bears - There are many polar bear facts in Polar Boy. List five from the book or your own research.
Fauna Research the animals and birds that appear in Polar Boy – whale, seal, arctic hare, arctic fox, wolf, lemming, snowy owl, and polar bear. Write an information report about one of them. Arctic/Antarctic Phenomena Research and find pictures of the following Arctic phenomena ‘Northern Lights’, Polar Night, Polar Day (midnight sun), and types of ice. Hypothermia What is hypothermia? What rescue procedures are in place in northern countries in case of accidentally falling through ice? ENGLISH Historical Fiction Iluak lived in 1340 AD, over 600 years ago. What role can historical fiction play in teaching us about life long ago? What is the difference between historical fiction and historical fact? Does the author sometimes make things up? Comprehending the Text The opening page says that Iluak is afraid of “whiter things”. What was Iluak afraid of? List. Why do you think he was afraid of these things? If you were Iluak would you be afraid of them? What are you afraid of? Why? Do you think everyone has fears? Discuss. How can you overcome your fears? Iluak believes himself to be a coward. Do you agree? Gather evidence from the book to support your position. What is a prophecy? What is Nana’s prophecy? Why do the villagers believe Nana? What is her role in the village? What is a shaman? Do you think Tuaq will make a good shaman? Why/why not? Iluak and Tuaq don’t get on at the beginning of the story. Why do you think this is so? How and why does their relationship change? Read Chapter 10. Discuss how this scene about the killing of whales made you feel. Writing First Person Present tense - Polar Boy is written in first person. Iluak tells the story. It is also written in present tense. Iluak tells the story as it is happening. Pretend you are Iluak and have fallen through the ice into the cold water. Write a paragraph telling how you feel now it is happening. Use the word “I” not Iluak. Say “I feel” not Iluak feels. Procedure - Read pp 26-29 where igloo building is described. What are the steps involved? Write a procedure for igloo building. Poetry Write a poem about Iluak - An acrostic poem is where the first letter of each line spells the word, like this ... I L U A K Language Onomatopoeias - Onomatopoeias are words which describe a sound. The first four words in Polar Boy are onomatopoeias which describe the sound of Iluak falling over a pile of soapstone pots and pans. There are many onomatopoeias in Polar Boy e.g.
Kerplunk, tunk, phlock, cra-ack, glp, scritch-scritch. Make a list of onomatopoeias and what they are describing. Imagery – The imagery in Polar Boy is drawn from the Arctic landscape e.g. “His huge belly laugh drops like an avalanche over us all.” “The words freeze in my throat.” Make up some more descriptive sentences using ice and snow imagery. Word Game - Iluak and Miki play Ice-spy (I Spy). Play this word game, being careful to only spy things you would see in the High Arctic. Talking and Listening Debate - Research whaling – its history and its place today. What is your opinion about whaling today? Should it be allowed? Why/why not? Should modern day Inuit people be allowed to hunt whales using traditional methods? Creative Arts Drama - Story stick use a stick to draw a picture in the dirt and tell the image’s story. Music - Inuit women practised a special type of singing called throat-singing. Write a short exposition explaining what this is. Listen to a sound clip on the internet. Visual Arts o create a poster showing Arctic animals; o using plasticine make blocks of ice and then build an igloo. Games - Inuit children, like Miki, played cats cradle string games using string made from caribou skin. Today the game is still played using wool or cotton. Attempt some cats cradle string games (examples can be found at http://www.alysion.org/figures/main.htm). SOSE / HSIE / GEOGRAPHY ACTIVITIES Using an atlas - Locate: Baffin Island, The Arctic Circle. Climate - What is the climate like? The average temperature where Iluak lives is 8.5°C. Compare it to the temperature where you live . How does climate affect how we live – clothing, food, and games? Research different types of ice – Sea ice, pack ice. Human Interaction with the Environment - In the High Arctic, above the tree line, there is no wood, no metal and few plants. Many of our every day items are made from these things. What did the 14th century Thule (Too-lee) people use for – clothing, sewing needles and thread, housing, saucepans, boats, travel, furniture, lighting? People and their Beliefs – What do the Thule believe about animal spirits? What is a shaman? What happened in the ceremonial igloo? Racial Identity - The Viking and Thule (Too-lee) Inuit people were physically very different. Make a list of any differences and similarities e.g. hair colour, eye colour, height, complexion. (Note: Iluak looks like a Too-lee boy and Finn looks like a Viking boy.) Family Unit - Some people live in a nuclear family with their parents and brothers and sisters. Iluak lives in an extended family. As well as his mother, father and sister, his igloo is shared with his grandmother, uncle, aunty and baby cousin. What sort of family do you live in? Create a family tree chart for Iluak. Community - Iluak’s village has thirty people. Why do you think thirty would be a good size for the type of place where they live? Why would five people not be enough to survive? Why would 100 be a problem? What role do Papa and Nana play in the community?
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/gallery_np_seasons.html Website of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency. Explains different seasons in the Arctic and included Webcam images.
http://www.athropolis.com/ Lots of interesting arctic facts, maps and games. Visit the Library for a ready reference of facts. Information on pack ice here http://www.athropolis.com/arctic-facts/fact-ice-pack.htm or map here http://www.athropolis.com/links/maps.htm
http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/arctic/index.html Website of Saskatoon School (Canada). Read all about Arctic Wildlife here http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/arctic/Awildlife.html or check out the Arctic Alphabet with links to almost everything http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/arctic/abc.html.
http://www.fao.org/docrep/W0613T/w0613T0m.htm Website of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Article on Inuit dogs and dog sledding.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnGM0BlA95I A YouTube video of Throat singing. The video is the application for Traditional Performer at the 2008 Arctic games.
http://www.pulaarvik.ca Website of the Pulaarvik Kablu Friendship (Nunavut). Find out about traditional clothing here http://www.pulaarvik.ca/youngfamilies/tradClothing.html, throat singing here with video http://www.pulaarvik.ca/youth/ic_throatsing.html.
http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/bear-facts Website of Polar Bear International - a nonprofit organisation dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear. Lots of polar bear information. Download Polar Bear Trek Board game here http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/polar-bear-trek-board-game/.
http://www.mnh.si.edu/arctic/html/resources_faq.html# Website of the Smithsonian Institute Arctic Studies Centre General information. FAQ for Vikings here http://www.mnh.si.edu/arctic/html/resources_faq.html#vikings.
http://www.primitiveways.com/igloo.htmlhttp://www.primitiveways.com/igloo.html How to build an igloo.
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/index.html Website of Minnesota Department of Natural resources. Ice safety and rescue procedures.
Polar Boy Interactive White Board Resources These resources have been prepared using Microsoft PowerPoint for maximum portability and can be used by individual students at a computer or a class group using an Interactive Whiteboard. To use these IWB Resources you must have MS PowerPoint already installed. MS PowerPoint Viewer only will not allow the necessary macro programs to run. These macros allow the additional functionality such as drag and drop.
You will need to ensure macros are enabled in your installation of MS PowerPoint. To do this open PowerPoint and select the Tools menu. From the dropdown select Macros. Select Security. Set the Security Level to Medium. This level will prompt for permission to enable macros each time a PowerPoint application containing macros is opened. You should only give permission for macros in applications from sources you know and trust.
Note: These IWB resources have been prepared by Sandy Fussell and include VBA macro code. Sandy has over 15 years programming experience using a range of programming languages. Her most recent projects include MAIL-IT, a mail management application installed in universities across Australia and NZ, and PALMS, a property and lease management system for the NSW Port Kembla Port Corporation. Page 12
Set Up The instructions which follow are for the download of the complete resource set. If you download individual components, save them as .pps files (as per the contents of the resource set) and proceed from Step 2. (Note: Save them as ppt files if you want to open them in PowerPoint) 1
The Polar Boy IWB Resources consist of 5 files zipped as Polar Boy.zip a. Polar Boy Resources.pps b. Build Igloo.pps c. Story Map.pps d. TicTacSno.pps e. Ice Blocks Quiz.pps
Extract the files to any folder. c:\Polar Boy would be a good choice.
Create a shortcut on the Desktop to run Polar Boy Resources.pps a. Right mouse-click on the Desktop b. Select New c. Select Shortcut d. In the dialogue box click Browse and locate the folder created in Step 2 Click on the Polar Boy Resources.pps file and then click on the OK button.
e. Click on Next f. Type in the name Polar Boy IWB Resources g. Click on the Finish button 4
To begin using the resources, double-click on the new shortcut created in Step 4
BUILD AN IGLOO QUIZ (Build an Igloo.pps) Questions are asked based on Polar Boy with page references given if a hint is needed. As each question is correctly answered an ice brick is added to the igloo Iluak is building. If the answer is incorrect, the student is prompted to try again
ICE BLOCKS QUIZ (Ice Blocks Quiz.pps) Select a random ice brick to answer a question about the Arctic animals found in Polar Boy. Some answers are drawn from the text, some from general knowledge and some are quirky new facts just for fun (did you know the polar bear has clear fur?)
This quiz could be played as a two team-based activity. Students would take turns to answer a question with the teacher recording the questions (ice-bricks) correctly answered. A question may be used more than once if desired.
TEAM TALLY SHEET Enter the team number (or name) against questions answered correctly on the ice brick pile below (see example to the right). Then tally up the scores to find the winning team.
TEAM 1 SCORE =
TEAM 2 SCORE =
POLAR BOY STORY MAP (Story Map.pps) Each circle represents a narrative event from one of the fourteen chapters in Polar Boy. Students drag the circles into the correct order by placing them over the numbered box. The chapter summaries on p5 in this Resource Kits can be used to check the ordering. One screen covers Chapters 1 to 7 and the other, Chapters 8 to 14. When closing the screen you will be prompted to save the changes to the file. How you answer will determine how the Story Map screen is displayed next time. Click NO to discard changes. The Story Map will open with the circles in the default jumbled order. Click YES to save changes. The Story Map will open with the circles in the saved position. Clicking anywhere on the background will close the Story Map screen.
TIC-TAC-SNO (TicTacSno.pps) An icebreaker game just for fun. This one is so easy and well known no instructions are necessary. First player to complete a row of snowflakes wins. To clear the screen press New Game.
Acknowledgements I am grateful to the assistance provided to me by my expert friends. Kerrie Karas, a wonderful teacher taught one of my children (lucky him!), provided consultative advice for these notes and as always was a huge support. Barbara Brown pulled the IWB resources apart after I thought I had finished and made them much easier to follow. Jeffery E Doherty is the talent behind the artwork. He is a children's writer and artist who lives in Bathurst with his wife, three teenage sons, six - mostly rescued - cats, two rats and a goldfish. Jeff is passionate about child welfare and has worked for many years with at-risk and disadvantaged children. His new position as a Learning Support Officer at a local primary school is giving him a wealth of ideas for future stories. You can find out more about Jeff and his work here http://jefferyedoherty.googlepages.com/ and http://jefferyedoherty.blogspot.com/